ForImmediate Release

February 9, 2007

New York, NY – The Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW) is pleased to announce that three of its faculty members have been selected to receive Diversity Research Fellowships. They are associate professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, associate professor Wen-Jui Han and assistant professor Fred Ssewamala.

Provided through the Columbia University Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives, the Research Fellowships were approved by President Lee Bollinger in fall 2006 to support efforts to increase faculty diversity in the professional schools at Columbia. The funds are intended to support short-term or longer-term faculty visits, or to supplement faculty research budgets where needed for recruitment, retention, or career advancement. Additionally, the award can be used to provide start-up funds, resources for specific projects, or pilot grants for faculty members who contribute to the diversity goals of the university.

“In light of how competitive the Research Fellowship awards are, we are proud that three scholars from our School were selected,” says Dean Jeanette Takamura.

Vincent Guilamo-Ramos
Dr. Ramos is currently conducting a pilot study in the Dominican Republic on sexual risk behaviors involving adolescent (aged 11-15) – mother dyads. His work is a natural extension of his research focused on Dominican families in New York and is aimed ultimately at developing and evaluating an innovative, parent-based intervention to prevent sexual risk behavior and HIV/AIDS.  Dr. Ramos will use data collected in the pilot study to substantiate a competitive grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health and to publish preliminary papers towards the development of an international program of research and scholarship.

Wen-Jui Han
Dr. Han will use the funding she will receive to support her research on the developmental experiences of children in immigrant families, particularly those that are low-income. Dr. Han will examine factors that may be related to learning and developmental experiences unique to immigrants’ pre-adolescent children, a population that has largely been overlooked to date. She will also be researching parental work schedules and its relation to child development and well-being.

Fred Ssewamala
Dr. Ssewamala will further develop, test and refine an innovative research program focused on a family economic empowerment intervention that promotes asset ownership opportunities and future life options for orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) in sub-Saharan Africa. He will conduct a longitudinal examination of the impact of the model on the primary outcomes of health functioning and educational achievements and the secondary outcomes of HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, behavioral intentions, future aspirations, and beliefs about saving and investing.

For more information, please contact Jeannie Hii at 212-851-2327 or jy2223@columbia.edu.

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